Employees at MPC’s Robinson, Illinois, refinery recently shared the wonders of nature with hundreds of area children at two separate events – Spring Neal Pit Nature Day and Meserve Cabin Earth Day. Both initiatives were planned and organized by members of the refinery’s Committee for Awareness and Responsibility of Environmental Stewardship (CARES) Green Team.
Spring Neal Pit Day was held at the refinery’s 80-acre Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC)-certified site in Palestine, Illinois. Thanks to refinery volunteers, the former limestone quarry now shelters a variety of native plants, trees and animals. An invitation went out to second-grade students, teachers and parents representing nearby Hutsonville, New Hebron, Oblong, Palestine and Lawrenceville elementary schools. More than 200 accepted.
Over the course of the day, students learned about bees, bats and trees; identified evidence of animals inhabiting the refuge along a nature walk; and learned about alternative energy sources via a pedal-powered light and popcorn popped by windmill-generated power. They got a taste of local honey, decorated tree-disc necklaces and learned the benefits of bats in keeping the insect population down, dispersal of seeds and pollination. Each child also received a Marathon Petroleum backpack.
“Neal Pit Nature Day was again a success,” notes Robinson HR Consultant Tommy Skinner. “The students learned things some had never seen or heard before while having a great time, and the volunteers had as much fun as the children.”
The CARES Team celebrated Earth Day with kindergarteners at yet another of the refinery’s WHC-certified habitats, the Meserve Cabin at Washington Park Elementary. MPC volunteers led kindergarten students through various stations. They learned the benefits of composting; took a nature walk through some nearby woods; and flew kites in the park. The students also took the kites home with them as a gift, courtesy of the CARES Team.
“At this time in their lives, children are soaking up knowledge, eager to learn about the world around them,” adds Skinner. “There is no better time than now to share the importance of protecting that world with them.”
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